From LG and Loewe to Skyworth and Changhong. There were lots of ‘wallpaper OLED’ TVs exhibited at IFA 2017 in Berlin and it appears that we can expect at least some of them to launch next year. Some manufacturers also showcased “Crystal sound”, which is comparable to Sony’s Acoustic Surface in the A1 OLED.
Extremely thin TVs
LG is the only company to offer a so-called wallpaper OLED with its W7 range. It is an extremely thin TV that sticks to the wall only using magnets. All ports and electronic components have been relocated to a soundbar.
But at IFA 2017 in Berlin, LG was far from alone. The panels are manufactured by LG.Display – LG’s display panel production division – and if we are not mistaken that the company is ready to sell the panels to outside TV brands. We say this because several companies exhibited products and prototypes.
Let’s start with LG before we move on. The company used IFA to launch a 77-inch version of the W7 OLED. Besides its excellent picture quality, LG wanted to showcase that you can use it as a digital picture frame on the wall.
We have already written about Loewe’s modular ‘OLED X’, which was a unique take on the wallpaper OLED. Loewe showcased 3 concepts, one was mounted on the wall while the two others were placed on table / floor stands.
Speakers were separated from the TV, which had an external connection hub that could control up to two TVs at home. Power and data were carried over the same cable.
GrundigGrundig unveiled a display dubbed the ‘Wallpaper TV’. It was based on a 65-inch OLED panel that was exhibited in a very dark room, which made it look like it was almost one with the wall.
The company had hid the electronics box so we didn’t get to see it but it is obviously still required. The TV had no model number.
The award for the most oversaturated at IFA goes to Changhong. The company also won the price for the ugliest electronics box.
Still, their ‘Wall Paper OLED’ was quite impressive. An interesting detail here is that Changhong claims to have a 55-inch version of the TV. LG currently sells the wallpaper OLED in 65 and 77-inch sizes. The 55-inch was not on display at IFA.
Metz & Skyworth
Metz, today produced under license by China’s Skyworth, also showcased its ‘Wallpaper’. It did not have a model number and no launch details were announced but judging from the sheer number of panels on display, the company appears to be serious about it.
Unfortunately, the electronics box was not exactly small. In fact, it may be the largest we have seen yet.
Toshiba exhibited its own version as the ‘Poster TV’, which was based on the 65-inch panel. Toshiba TVs are today produced under license by Vestel, who also has several other retired brands under its wings.
Once again, the electronics box was not exactly tiny and the funnel-shaped design will not make it any easier to hide in a cabinet. Nevertheless, it confirms that Vestel – Europe’s largest TV manufacturer – is experimenting with ways to bring the wallpaper OLED to market.
’Crystal sound’ in your TV
Sony A1 is the first OLED TV by the Japanese TV manufacturer but also the first OLED TV that uses the actual display panel as a speaker membrane to reproduce sound. This is possible because an OLED display panel consists of only one layer.
Sony has dubbed the technology ‘Acoustic Surface’ but away from the sparkling lights of the show floors, LG.Display has on several occasions showcased its ‘Crystal Sound’ concept. It is the same technology and as you may know, Sony – like everyone else – sources its OLED panels from LG.Display.
This could indicate that we can expect to see the technology implemented in far more TVs in the near future. We saw several prototypes exhibited on the open show floors of IFA.
China’s Changhong had brought a ‘Crystal Sound’ OLED panel mounted flat on a table with two bowls of plastic bullets on top to demonstrate how the panel produces audio without affecting picture quality in any way.
The plastic bullets were very much alive but it is not possible to see the vibrations in the panel with the naked eye.
Metz/Skyworth exhibited the same technology implemented in an actual TV. We didn’t get a chance to actually hear the sound but we assume that it works.
We have already reviewed the Sony A1 and concluded that the sound is, although not perfect, very good. Sony has added a separate subwoofer to the system.